My favorite genre. Racy plot, blasting bombs, espionage and what not related to a thriller – totally my thing. In fact, I devoured thrillers so much so that my mum decided to put her foot down for the fear of me becoming a psychopath. I never even turned my head to the romance section until I was 22. Thriller all the way. However, there came a time I got naturally bored of thrillers. It was the same old formula – get something stolen or drop a bomb or kill an important person and get it all solved. That’s when I realized I needed to diversify. I started reading proper prose and romance too. Moreover, I realized I had to pick writers diversely when it came to thriller. I had stuck predominantly to American and British writers with the exception of Stieg Larsson. This post is not about the thriller I liked, but observations from the books I’ve read. I literally had to scramble for examples! I can’t seem to pick!
Here are my observations about a thriller and a mystery.
- The timing sense. That’s the major difference. In a mystery, the plot almost always begins with the crime being committed or the crime is down within a few chapters. In a pure thriller, the crime is probably done towards the end or there are a series of small crimes eventually leading to big ones.
- In the mystery, the protagonist tries to solve the case at hand – be it a murder or a theft. In a thriller, the protagonist prevents the crime from happening. The most popular example would be Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons where in there is a theft but there is a larger consequence at hand. So the protagonist works towards solving it and prevent the catastrophe.
- In a thriller, the pacing needs to be fast. The best example would be any of Jeffery Deaver’s books. My personal favorite would be The Bone collector. That plot is all bam bam bam boom boom boom. The stark opposition would be Agatha Christie’s books in general. My personal favorite would be the sparkling cyanide featuring colonel Race. The story unfolds thread by thread. One has to savor it piece by piece.
That’s the major difference I have noted! Recommendation for a good thriller welcome!